Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – 20th Anniversary #Free Book and Some of my Very Odd Jobs by Sally Cronin


Sally Cronin shares a twenty year writing anniversary and the gift of a free book! Congrats on this wonderful milestone, Sally ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

It is 20 years since I put pen to paper.. of fingers to the keyboard and wrote my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. I am delighted that it still gets the odd recent review, but I thought to celebrate the anniversary I would offer it FREE for the next few weeks. Particularly as I am in the middle of editing my next collection due out in November.

As an indie author on Amazon I don’t get to do free giveaways, so I would ask you to email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or an Epub version of the book for other devices. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else. You can find out more about the book and its most recent review at the end of the post.

To set the scene I am…

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The Duplicate Bride by @GinnyBaird #Romance #Reading


Today we have the excerpt tour for Ginny Baird’s THE DUPLICATE BRIDE! Check it out and be sure to pre-order yours today!

Title: The Duplicate Bride

Author: Ginny Baird

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 29th

About The Duplicate Bride:

Saying “I do” has never been this much fun in this charming new romance from New York Times bestselling author Ginny Baird.

Hope Webb can’t believe her twin sister, Jackie, is begging her to swap places and play fiancée at Jackie’s pre-wedding festivities. Sure, it’s only a business-deal sort of marriage, but Hope is a carb-loving teacher who enjoys curling up with a good book. Jackie is a workaholic whose idea of a good time is a brisk five-mile run at the crack of dawn. The two sisters couldn’t be more opposite.

Now Hope is stuck in the middle of a warm, tight-knit family she can’t help but adore and a groom who turns out to be entirely wonderful…for her.

Hotel magnate Brent Albright knows something is off about his fiancée, but he doesn’t care. Gone is the driven woman with similar career goals, and in her place is someone warm and funny who not only charms his family but him as well. She’s doing everything she can to avoid him, but that’s probably just nerves. Two people about to wed couldn’t know each other less.

Now Brent is determined to woo his fiancée, for real this time, because the more he gets to know her, the more his sweet fiancée turns out to be entirely wonderful…for him.

And that’s when things start to get really complicated…

Pre-Order Your Copy Today:

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Google | Kobo | Target | Walmart

Exclusive Excerpt:

“No, Jackie, just no. You can forget about it!” She lowered her voice, remembering she was outdoors and that Iris was within earshot. “I am not playing you. Okay? Not during your own wedding week.”

Iris looked up from trimming her begonia hedge. “Everything all right, child?”

“Oh, yeah! Fine! It’s just my sister. Nervous bride.” She waved Iris’s concern aside and hissed quietly into the mouthpiece, “Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind?”

“No. I’m thinking plenty clearly. Thanks.”

Hope tightened her grip on her phone, unable to believe what her twenty-eight-year-old twin was suggesting. Jackie had to have majorly lost it to suggest a plan like that. Hope had to find a way to talk her down from this ledge.

“I’m sure if you explain things to Brent,” she said, “he’ll understand.”

“It’s not Brent I’m worried about,” Jackie rasped quietly. “It’s his grandmother.” She dropped her voice a notch further. She was probably in a public place. “I didn’t tell you this before because it’s embarrassing, but I don’t think the woman likes me.”

“You’ve met her?” Jackie hadn’t mentioned this. “When?”

“She and her husband live in Boston. Brent and I had lunch with them, and well…she gave me the eye.”

“Which eye?”

The eye. You know, where it looks like someone’s peering straight through you? She kind of squinted at me, appraising-like, and asked how long I’d been in love with her grandson.”

Hope gasped. “What did you say?”

Forever. What else could I say? Brent took my hand and told his grandparents we’re a great match. I mean, we’ve talked it out and have plenty of good reasons for being together, so we are. His grandfather toasted us with his congratulations then, but Granny just dabbed her lips with her napkin and mumbled something about rushed nuptials and haste making waste.”

“Well, that was unnecessary,” Hope snapped, affronted on her sister’s behalf. Even if the engagement had been short, Brent’s grandmother could have at least been gracious about it.

“I know. The family’s already doubting me, and nobody’s giving me a fair chance. Here’s the thing— Brent’s grandma is like the queen in that family. So, if she doesn’t like me, then maybe the others won’t, either.”

“I’m sure they’ll all love you once they get to know you,” Hope said. Jackie was so outgoing and fun. Meanwhile, Hope was on the quieter side—except for when she was commanding high-energy students. She was a rock star at getting preteens to behave in the classroom, which was one reason she loved her job. The other was summer vacations— when she wasn’t being coerced into teaching summer school.

“If I arrive late to my own wedding week, Grandmother Margaret’s going to pounce,” Jackie persisted. “She already hinted that she thought I was unreliable and might not make it.” She adopted a high falsetto, imitating the older woman. “With your very busy schedule, are you sure you can squeeze in one more wedding?

About Ginny Baird:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ginny Baird writes sweet contemporary romance with a dash of humor and a whole lot of heart. She’s published more than twenty-five novels and novellas, both with traditional presses and independently, and has several exciting projects in the works. When she’s not writing, Ginny enjoys cooking, walking, and spending time with her family.

Connect Ginny Baird:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Bookbub | Amazon

Love’s Tempo- Fiction in a Flash #FlashFiction Challenge #WritersCommunity #amwriting


Love’s Tempo- Fiction in a Flash Challenge #18

This week’s photo prompt for Suzanne Burke’s Flash Fiction Challenge is a mysterious piece of sheet music and a woman holding a rose. You can take part here:

He was at it again. She rued the day she’d allowed him to buy the baby grand. Day and night, he lived for those damn ebony keys. He didn’t even share their bedroom half the time, preferring instead to sleep with his infernal music.

It was their tenth anniversary and she’d worked all day to create the perfect meal; chicken cordon bleu, garlic and chive mashed potatoes, savory roast vegetables, and his favorite dessert, bananas foster. And through it all, he’d played. She’d tuned out the actual melody years ago. It was either that or go stark raving mad. It was the same song, over and over and over again.

At first, she’d tried to take an active interest in his… let’s call it what it was–addiction. She’d join him in the den, offering input into the music. In return, He’d give her a vacant smile and continue the way he was, dark head bent lovingly over the keyboard.

Then she’d gone the opposite direction, ignoring him, going about her day as though everything was perfectly fine. Making excuses for his negligence. Alone, and lonely.

But, tonight was the end. She couldn’t do it anymore. He was turning her into a bitter shrew and she didn’t like it. After dinner, she was going to give him the separation papers.

“Hungry?” she asked with forced gaiety.

“Hmm?” he murmured, penning some notes onto the sheet music.

“It’s our anniversary. I made dinner.” Not quite as cheerful now.

“Can it wait? I’m close to a breakthrough.” He glanced up with a smile.

Her heart did that stupid leap, still affected by him after all these years. “Please.” She hated the entreaty in her voice.

“Sure, babe. I’ll be right behind you.” He turned back to the piano and she slowly returned to the kitchen. Picked up the heavy butcher’s knife, and waltzed toward the den, buoyed by the harmonious chords bursting down the hall.

She was surprised by how easy it was, the cold steel sinking like warm butter into his back. The tune he was playing turning strident, a cry for help echoing in her head.

Then nothing.

Blessed silence as the ivory keys turned red and his precious music died with him.

She yanked the knife free, his body slouched over the keyboard, and gouged deep lines in the shiny black finish. The shriek of steel becoming cries of agony- hers. It was his fault- all of it. He’d destroyed their love as easily as she’d just ruined his beloved piano.

Finally, she circled around to the sheet music, and was about to rip it to shreds when the title stayed her hand.

Love’s Tempo- an pledge to my beautiful wife, who loves me far more than I deserve.

Yours forever, honey

Slowly, painfully, she sank to the floor near her husband’s head and sliced her wrists. As she grew faint, their blood melded into an eternal chorus–the day the music died.

#NewRelease- Perfectly Imperfect #RomCom #Romance


https://books2read.com/Perfectly-Imperfect

Today is the Day! Perfectly Imperfect is live!

I’m thrilled to share my new romantic comedy with you today, and it’s my mom’s birthday!

2020 has been (and still is) a tough year for many, including Mom. She ended up in the hospital on Mother’s day 😦 and was there for a month. Since then, she’s developed horrible black and blue bruising on her legs that became open wounds. We’re working to get them under control and the pain level down, but any prayers would be appreciated.

And now, for a lighter topic; I created a book trailer for Perfectly Imperfect and it only took me three hours for a fifty second clip! lol

Cute, right?

https://books2read.com/Perfectly-Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FDFWDF2

International: https://books2read.com/Perfectly-Imperfect

TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55208881-perfectly-imperfect

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/perfectly-imperfect-by-jacquie-biggar

What happens when Miss Perfection clashes with Mr. Casual?

Chaos!

Georgina’s in trouble. The startup money she borrowed from her parents’ retirement fund is long gone and her dream of owning the next big thing in market-to-table cuisine disappeared with it.

Her only choice? Merge her company into the corporate giant, CLO, and hope she isn’t making a huge mistake.

Rhys Turner is his father’s progeny, born and raised to take over the empire when his dad deems him ready. Rhys doesn’t mind the fast-paced lifestyle, though he detests the coldblooded mantra of the corporation- Buy from the weak and sell at a profit.

It’s made his family millions. But now, just when CLO’s reins are within reach, he’s run into the one woman who could change everything.

A delightful mixture of women’s fiction, chick-lit, romantic comedy, and New adult, Perfectly Imperfect has something for every reader.

What Readers are Saying

I noticed some – not a lot – but some resemblance to my favorite movie, ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ You know the story – Kathleen Kelly, played by Meg Ryan, and Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks, are total polar opposites, forced together thanks to business, and they end up in happily ever after. Best story ever thanks to the comedic timing of the tale brought to life by Hanks and Ryan. Biggar does that with her two characters – expertly putting each piece of the tale in just the right order to make the reader love it, and want more.

Georgina and Rhys sitting in a tree … k-i-s-s-i-n-g … I am calling for a sequel.

Becky Holland- Reedsy Reviewer ( https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/perfectly-imperfect-jacquie-biggar )

I loved everything about this story…the characters, the story line and the amusing and witty dialog. I think we can all use a “feel good” story and this one would be my choice. 

Paytonpuppy- Goodreads Reviewer
https://books2read.com/Perfectly-Imperfect

Exclusive Excerpt

“Did you buy out the store?” I ask, my voice snarky, a carryover from the conversation with my dad. I hoist a chenille dog bed under one arm and a big bag of grain free—written in large letters—food in the other.

Her glasses are foggy from the exertion of getting all the packages out of the store, but I still feel the chill of her sarcasm. “Not quite. I left the doghouse for you.”

Zing.

The call with my father fades away. I grin and follow her to the wreck she calls a car. The parking lot is crowded, forcing me to put the food in the bed, lift the whole thing over my head, and slide sideways to the back of the car where she already has the trunk open and is rearranging a pile of… stuff, so we can unload our parcels.

“You should have a truck,” I mutter, cramming the dog food into a corner. I bang my head on the trunk lid and curse as I straighten.

“There’s no need to swear, I didn’t ask you for help.” Georgina crosses her arms under full breasts and eyes the red mark I must have on my head as though I’ve done it on purpose.

“God forbid. Why is it that women always expect men to do things for them, but they refuse to come right out and ask us, and then get upset when we don’t pick up on the signs?” I rub the sore spot and slam the trunk closed with a satisfying bang.

“Why should we have to? If men paid attention, the world would be a better place.” Satisfied she’d gotten the last word in, Georgina sashays to the driver’s side and opens the car door. I hear a startled cry, then she drops to the ground.

Holy shit, is she having a heart attack? My own heart leapfrogging out of my chest, I race around the back of the car, my feet feeling as though they’re weighted by sandbags, only to find Georgina’s shapely butt in the air and her arm under the vehicle parked next to ours, a SUV with black running boards.

“What are you…?” Oh, no. Upset from the conversation with my father, I hadn’t replaced the lid on Buttercup’s box.

I fall to my knees behind Georgina and try to get a look under the SUV. “Did you see which way she went?” I ask, my mouth going dry.

Her butt waves in my face as Georgina shifts to glance back at me, eyes wide. “Hurry, run to the other side before she gets away. She’s behind the front tire.”

Not wasting another second, I jump to my feet and sprint to the driver’s side of the SUV, praying the traffic stays away. Nightmare visions of the tiny pup ending up beneath the wheels of a car turn my stomach inside out.

I roll onto my back and edge under the vehicle, doing my best to ignore the claustrophobia tightening my chest. Pebbles dig into my skin and an oily aroma warns me I’ve probably ruined another shirt since taking on this project, but none of that matters when I catch sight of Buttercup. She’s shivering and shaking, huddled against the dirty tire rim, her sandy brown fur mussed and dark with oil from the stain on the pavement.

“Come on, Buttercup. That’s a good girl. Come on, sweetheart. It’s okay, we’ve got you.” I stretch out my fingers and hold my breath, hoping she trusts my scent enough to come to me rather than making a dash into the parking lot.

Paperback for Perfectly Imperfect

Finally, I just wanted to share this incredibly cute cover Michele Hauf created for the paperback of Perfectly Imperfect

https://amzn.to/2RHZ0C9

I love it, don’t you?

Fiction in a Flash Challenge 17- #WritingCommunity #amwriting @pursoot


Fiction in a Flash Challenge #17

The week’s flash fiction challenge is titled Message in a Bottle. Join here on Suzanne Burke’s inspiring blog: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-17-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-funpursoot-iartg-asmsg-writingcommunity/

The sand is cool and grainy under my toes, a refreshing relief from the warmth of the sun on my shoulders. I’ve been walking this mostly deserted beach for hours, lost in memories of happier times.

I arrived as a visiter, but for the last twelve years this has been home. I’m not sure how I’ll survive without the wash of the waves, the briny scent, or the crimson sunsets, but I must. It’s up to me to continue the search.

Something green glints in the shallows and I pad out to investigate. It’s a bottle, half-buried in the wet sand, its cork pointing toward the North Star sparkling brightly in the evening sky.

Heart pumping, I tug until the sand gives up its treasure with a pop and carefully carry the fragile glass up the beach. Upon closer inspection, I spot a roll of paper inside the luminous green bottle.

“Sam, is that you?”

A wavery voice from my past jerks my attention away from my find.

Could it be?

The woman I never thought to see again, picks up her skirts and runs toward me, her silver hair flowing like a moonbeam.

With a joyous bark, I bound toward her, the aches and pains in my old bones forgotten. She came back.

“Oh, Sam,” she cries, falling to her knees to wrap frail arms around my neck. “I can’t believe I found you.”

I want to tell her I’ve been searching and searching for her, too, but of course I can’t. Instead, I whine and lick her chin in greeting, my tail swishing the sand.

“It was the cancer, boy. I’ve been in the hospital all this time. I thought I’d lost you.” She puts her head to mine and weeps.

A long while later, she slowly rises and, with a hand on my back, follows me over to the green bottle.

“What do you have there, Sam, a treasure?”

I already found my treasure tonight, but I bark and push the bottle toward her.

“Okay, okay.” She chuckles. “I get the message.”

She carefully works the cork from the bottle and tips the paper into her hand. Unrolling the missive, she reads, “Whoever finds this note, know this; there is no greater gift than love.”

As my old friend and I make our way down the beach, I sigh, contented for the first time in months. The bottle is right, love soothes the soul.

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#BookReview- The First Girl Child @AHarmon_Author #Fantasy #Read


From the New York Times bestselling author comes a breathtaking fantasy of a cursed kingdom, warring clans, and unexpected salvation.

Bayr of Saylok, bastard son of a powerful and jealous chieftain, is haunted by the curse once leveled by his dying mother. Bartered, abandoned, and rarely loved, she plagued the land with her words: From this day forward, there will be no daughters in Saylok.

Raised among the Keepers at Temple Hill, Bayr is gifted with inhuman strength. But he’s also blessed with an all-too-human heart that beats with one purpose: to protect Alba, the first girl child born in nearly two decades and the salvation for a country at risk.

Now the fate of Saylok lies with Alba and Bayr, whose bond grows deeper with every whisper of coming chaos. Charged with battling the enemies of their people, both within and without, Bayr is fueled further by the love of a girl who has defied the scourge of Saylok.

What Bayr and Alba don’t know is that they each threaten the king, a greedy man who built his throne on lies, murder, and betrayal. There is only one way to defend their land from the corruption that has overtaken it. By breaking the curse, they could defeat the king…but they could also destroy themselves.

Biography

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at http://www.authoramyharmon.com.

Photo by Alex Azabache on Pexels.com

My Review of The First Girl Child

Stunning visuals- this should be a blockbuster movie!

We are gently introduced to a larger-than-life world created by the God, Odin. A land called Saylok. Warring clans, an evil king, a curse upon the land, benevolent, powerful keepers whose runes protect those in need; this story is a saga of treachery and deceit and a love that transcends time.

Bayr, the temple boy as he is called, has been raised in the cradle of the keepers, loved and protected by his uncle Dagmar. He has the strength of Thor, and when a fearless rescue brings him to the attention of the queen, young Bayr is commissioned to guard her baby daughter- the first girl child the clans have seen in twelve, long years.

Betrayed by Banruud before he was king, Dagmar’s sister cursed all of Saylok with no girl children on her deathbed, so the seemingly miraculous birth of Alba guaranteed Banruud his place as king.

Bayr and Alba become inseparable, and as the years pass their bond grows. But King Banruud has a plan for his daughter and it doesn’t include the temple boy.

There are so many memorable moments in this book, I know I’m going to be reading it again, and again!

Favorite Lines

“Be careful what you fear,” Ivo replied, grave. “We draw the attention of the fates when our fear grows too loud. The fates are cruel, and they will reward you with what you fear most.”

The First Girl Child- Amy Harmon

“We do not live to endure. We endure so someday we can . . . live. I have endured a great deal, but there have only been a few moments when I have truly lived.”

The First Girl Child- Amy Harmon

Her happiness seeped from her chest, ran down her weak legs, and pooled beneath her feet, leaving her as empty as she’d been yesterday and the day before.

The First Girl Child- Amy Harmon

Read this Book!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
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#BookReview- Murder They Wrote #Suspense #Reading


Murder They Wrote

Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors. Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder. For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues. How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath. Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party. Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection. And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts. Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.

My Review of Murder They Wrote

Help, there’s been a murder!

Seven authors come together in this highly entertaining anthology featuring murder mysteries in a variety of genres from historical through speculative fiction.

Each short story is well-written, with memorable characters and enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. I love multi-author box sets as a way to introduce new-to-me authors along with some of my favorites.

Mae Clair’s regency, A Winter Reckoning, and Judi Lynn’s The Body in The Kitchen were standouts for me, along with C.S. Boyack’s From the Files of Jason Fogg and Lincoln Uncovers the Real Story of How Preston Metzger Got Himself Kilt by D. P. Reisig.

All are guaranteed to give you hours of reading pleasure!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
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What’s your creative weapon of choice? Brushes, pens, or pencils?


Vicki Batman shares her upcoming release and asks the all-important question; brushes, pens, or pencils? 🙂

Word by Word

Pencils? That’s what you use, Vicki? Seriously?

If you ran into me working, you’ll probably see three things–4×4 ruled sticky notes, a large calendar book, and yellow mechanical pencils.

Yes, pencils. I wouldn’t use a brush. I’m so not a painter like our beloved Kathryn. As for pens? A long time ago, I took shorthand. I was very fast and my weapon for scribbling–the classic Bic pen. But time passed, shorthand has fallen away, and my creative genius moved along. I discovered Missing Vowel wordsearch books. Let’s face it, with a pen, erasing is a no-go. The paper tears. The ink smears. Etc. But a pencil IS erasable.

I use a pencil for my calendar book, too. Dates and times change almost daily. And with a pen, I faced the same smearing and tearing paper issue. Pencil it is!

However, I’m not an ordinary pencil user. I like the yellow…

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#NewRelease- Cute But Crazy 2 #Romance #mgtab @mimisgang1


https://books2read.com/CuteButCrazy2

Cute But Crazy 2 is Live!

I’m thrilled to share the release of this fun new romantic comedy box set by some of the writers in The Authors’ Billboard group. Visit us here: https://authorsbillboard.com/

SIX BRAND NEW Side-splitting Romantic Comedies plus two read-tested surprise titles by Eight New York Times and USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors, CUTE BUT CRAZY 2 – DITZY DUDES is the follow-up boxset to the Bestselling Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women.

Get ready for another Romantic Comedy box set from the fabulous Authors’ Billboard gang. Come get acquainted with these charming and sexy Ditzy Dudes and the ladies they bring Happy (and tickle-bone funny) Ever Afters to.

Jacquie Biggar – Perfectly Imperfect – What happens when Miss Perfection clashes with Mr. Casual? Chaos! USA Today Bestselling Author of the Wounded Hearts, Mended Souls, Gambling Hearts, Blue Haven series, plus many single titles and multi-author box sets.

Susan Jean Ricci – Work in Progress – When a shy construction worker accepts a dare from one of the guys, quirky escapades develop and so does a potential romance with the woman he secretly craves. Multi-Award Winning and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Cindy’s Crusade, The Triplets Trilogy series and many single titles and box sets.

Mimi Barbour – You Make Me Happy– Keeping a secret becomes mind-boggling when everyone’s in on it. NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Special Agent, Sweet Revenge, Vegas, Angels with Attitudes, Holiday Heartwarmers, The Vicarage Bench series, and many single titles and box sets.

Mona Risk – Half a Dozen With Love – To prevent Child Protective Service from separating her five young siblings, Tammy accepts Dr. Jack Conan’s proposal, and faces a new stream of problems. NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Modern Prince, Holiday Babies, The Senator’s Family, Doctor’s Orders, Foreign Lovers, and many singles titles and box sets.

Dani Haviland – They Call Me Sherlock – Life gets exciting for the rich and clever ‘butler’ when his sweetheart from 1969’s Woodstock shows up looking younger than possible. What was her secret? And did she still care about him as much as he did her? USA Today Bestselling Author of The Fairies Saga, Arlie Undercover, That Twin Thing, Triplets: Three Aren’t One series, and dozens of singles titles and box sets.

Cynthia Cooke – Going All the Way – #1 Never have closet sex with a neighbor #2 Never sing to a crying dog thinking you’re alone #3 Never crash a wedding. Ever. USA Today Bestselling Author of the Kiss the Bride, A Bayou Magic, A Pineville Christmas, Deadly Secrets series and many singles titles and box sets.

Patrice Wilton – Love Struck – Can Samantha and Kyle resist their attraction and find a way to save the town? NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Paradise Cove, A Salem B&B Mystery, Candy Bar, Soccer Studs, Serendipity Cove, Wounded Warriors, Heavenly Christmas series, and many single titles and box sets.

Short Excerpt from Perfectly Imperfect by Jacquie Biggar

If Bloomin’ Right is going to have a second chance, it’s my job to get rid of the deadwood—case in point, Miss Sassy Pants.

“My boss,” she emphasizes, “Doesn’t know his di… plomacy from a hole in the wall.” She lifts a brow as if to say, ‘so there.

“Are you always so forthright?” I glance at the blinking numbers over our heads, five… six… seven… and try to slow my racing pulse. You’d think at thirty-six years old, I would have overcome my irrational fear of closed spaces, but, not so much. If I wasn’t already running late, I could have taken the stairs. Instead, I’m counting on a pint-sized walking, talking danger zone to keep my mind off the fact we’re in what basically amounts to a steel coffin.

“It’s called honesty. You can’t fire a person for that, can you?” With the umbrella hooked over her arm, wavy curls teasing flushed cheeks, and the tray of drinks in hand, she looks like a younger, sexier version of Mary Poppins.

My lips pull down at the corners. Great, now I feel like I’m here to get rid of the nanny. “Regardless,” I intone, sounding way too much like my father for peace of mind. “You can’t go around—”

The elevator jerks to a halt, causing a gasp of dismay from my companion as the coffee sloshes out of the air holes in little mocha-tinted bubbles, and a gusty sigh from me that we’re about to be released from our prison. Except…

The doors don’t open.

I look at Miss Sassy and she looks at me, and as one we both look up in awed disbelief at the frozen number nine mocking our fears.

“Great. This is just great,” Miss Sassy says. She backs into the opposite corner of the elevator and clunks her head a couple of times against the wall. “Did I mention I hate Mondays?”

I ignore her and jab my finger on the alarm button, working to stem my panic.

In. Out. In. Out.

Breathe.

“You need to call for help,” Miss Helpful suggests, nodding toward the phone box on the wall.

Easy for her to say—literally. My throat is so tight I’m seeing black dots.

https://books2read.com/CuteButCrazy2

🔥Hot, hot, hot!- win on @BookSweeps today — 30 exciting Steamy & Erotic #Romance #Audiobooks from a great collection of authors… AND a brand new eReader


Romance Audiobook Giveaway!

Today, I have a fun surprise to share with you…

I’ve teamed up with 30 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Steamy & Erotic Romance Audiobooks to 2 lucky winners!

Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁 

You can win my novel Tempted by Mr. Wrong, plus books from authors like Piper Rayne & Leslie Pike.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉 bit.ly/SteamyAudiobooks-Sept20

Good luck and enjoy!

Jacquie Biggar

#BookReview- Hidden by Laura Griffin #Suspense @Laura_Griff


Wednesday Book Review- Hidden by Laura Griffin

An ambitious female reporter tracks a deadly threat in Austin, Texas, in the newest riveting thriller by New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

When a woman is found brutally murdered on Austin’s lakeside hike-and-bike trail, investigative reporter Bailey Rhoads turns up on the scene demanding access and answers. She tries to pry information out of the lead detective, Jacob Merritt. But this case is unlike any he’s ever seen, and nothing adds up. With the pressure building, Jacob knows the last thing he needs is a romantic entanglement, but he can’t convince himself to stay away from Bailey.

Bailey has a hunch that the victim wasn’t who she claimed to be and believes this mugging-turned-murder could have been a targeted hit. When she digs deeper, the trail leads her to a high-tech fortress on the outskirts of Austin, where researchers are pushing the boundaries of a cutting-edge technology that could be deadly in the wrong hands.

As a ruthless hit man’s mission becomes clear, Bailey and Jacob join together in a desperate search to locate the next target before the clock ticks down in this lethal game of hide-and-seek.

Biography

Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. She is a two-time RITA Award winner, and her book Desperate Girls was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly. Booklist magazine calls Laura’s popular Tracers series “the perfect mix of suspense and romance.”

Laura got her start in journalism before venturing into the world of suspense fiction. Her books have been translated into fourteen languages. Laura lives in Austin, Texas, where she is working on her next novel. Visit her website at http://www.lauragriffin.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor

To hear about new releases, sign up for Laura’s newsletter at: http://lauragriffin.com/subscribe/

Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina on Pexels.com

My Review

Cutting edge technology takes a deadly turn in Laura Griffin’s Hidden.

When a young woman is murdered in what seems like a targeted hit, Austin crime detective Jacob Merritt is determined to track the killer- even though the FBI has stepped in to take over the case. It’s Jacob’s city and he takes his vow to serve and protect seriously.

Investigative reporter Bailey Rhoads knows cutbacks at the paper where she works means her job is anything but secure, so when she gets a lead on a mysterious murder at a popular nearby lake, she begins her own investigation. The more she digs, the more questions Bailey has- if only the disturbingly attractive Detective Merritt would share his information.

As the stakes rise, Bailey and Jacob team up to search for another woman in danger. Will they be able to trust each other enough to put together the pieces of the puzzle before another person dies?

This is a fast-paced crime thriller dealing with some cutting edge technology that will leave you shocked. The author is a pro when it comes to police procedural stories, creating a believability factor this reader loves.

Hidden is smart, scary, frighteningly possible!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
back to school

Stop wishing your life away.


A beautiful post on being grateful from Kathryn Jane​- a must-read ❤

Word by Word

Our lives have become a constant loop of how much we want our normal back, how desperate we are to have “this insanity” behind us so we can get back to the way things were.

We don’t want to ever look back at the horrors of 2020. Right?

People are tired of COVID’s effect on their health and livelihood, frustrated by politics, appalled by the behavior of those they know and those they don’t, aghast to recognize their own internal biases, and afraid of everything from violent protests to the sneeze of a passerby.

This year might seem to be filled with loss and hardship, disappointment, disillusionment, and bone-chilling fear, but it is also perhaps the most important year of our lives.

Every second is contributing to our growth, our being, our understanding of life, of ourselves, of others.

So be brave.

Sit down and take a bit of time…

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When the Earl Met His Match by @st_reid #NewRelease #Historical


Today we have the excerpt tour for Stacy Reid’s WHEN THE EARL MET HIS MATCH! Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

Title: When The Earl Met His Match

Author: Stacy Reid

Genre: Regency Romance

Release Date: September 14th

About When The Earl Met His Match:

When Hugh Winthrop, the future Earl of Albury, decides to advertise for a wife in the London paper, he never expected an anonymous response from a woman who matches him wit for wit. Their back-and-forth letters on the true nature of love, something they disagree on wholeheartedly, leave him shocked—and intrigued. But then the woman he’s been corresponding with shows up on his doorstep, enticingly beautiful and offering a marriage of convenience in exchange for his protection…

Lady Phoebe Maitland expected to marry for love and nothing else, until the man she gave her trust betrayed her. The more intrigued she becomes by the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Hugh, however, the more she realizes he’s holding back from opening his heart due to long-held secrets she struggles to understand. As passion flares wickedly between them, their marriage bed is quick to heat up. But when Phoebe’s past threatens to destroy the fragile bond they’ve formed, even a budding belief in love might not be enough to save them.

Pre-Order Your Copy!

Entangled | Amazon | Amazon AU | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N | Apple Books | Kobo

Exclusive Excerpt:

Phoebe could feel Hugh’s stare like a physical caress along her nape then down to her hip. I’ll yield to your persuasion… Or more like his ravishment. Only a few steps away from the door, she whirled around and ran toward him without checking her speed. His beautiful eyes widened, and before he could react or even guess her intention, Phoebe jumped, grabbing his shoulders to haul herself up so she could wrap her legs around his hips. She did not concentrate on this very scandalous and outrageous position—that her dress had been pushed to her knees and she was wrapped around her husband like a vine, her ankles hooked around his back—but releasing one of his shoulders, she lunged to pluck the note he had been trying to hide.

Yes! She turned her triumphant gaze to him and realized their mouths were mere inches apart and her husband had frozen. Clearly, he had not expected her actions, but Phoebe hadn’t thought it would have so shocked him that he’d turned into this marble effigy.

She could feel his heartbeat against her breasts, which she had pressed so firmly against his chest. A wave of heat overwhelmed Phoebe, and she was unexpectedly mortified and intensely aware that she could feel every imprint of her lord’s body against hers. Her fingers tightened reflexively on his shoulder, and his lashes closed briefly, as if he savoured the sting of her nails that penetrated through the layers of his jacket and shirt.

“I’ve been improper,” she whispered, painfully aware of how close his lips were.

Phoebe placed the note close to her cheek. “Please take it back.”

Read it.”

“I…no, you did not want me to, and I should not have acted with such wanton disregard for your privacy—”

He pressed a finger to her parted lips. Then he lifted those fingers and signed, “Phoebe?”

“Yes?”

Read it.”

Painfully aware that she was still clasped intimately against him, she turned her head and lowered her gaze to the letter.

Dear Phoebe,

I like you.

I have started out wrong. I am happy that you are my wife. I listen to you sing to our daughter, and her chortles of joy make my heart hurt. I’ve never felt such an emotion before, but I’ve gathered it is a good thing, because I also want to smile whenever I see Franny and you together. Whenever you laugh, her legs kick, and her smile is comparable to the beauty of yours. How I wish she could hear my voice, even if once. How I wish I could sing for you…laugh with you.

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Stacy Reid writes sensual Historical and Paranormal Romances and is the published author of over twenty books. Her debut novella The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding was a 2015 HOLT Award of Merit recipient in the Romance Novella category, and her bestselling Wedded by Scandal series is recommended as Top picks at Night Owl Reviews, Fresh Fiction Reviews, and The Romance Reviews.

Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (aloud). She has a warrior way “Never give up on dreams!” When she’s not writing, Stacy spends a copious amount of time binge-watching series like The Walking Dead, Altered Carbon, Rise of the Phoenixes, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, Love and Redemption, and playing video games with her love. She also has a weakness for ice cream and will have it as her main course.

Connect with Stacy:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

#SundayStills- Orange is the Theme of the Day #Photography


Sunday Stills is on Hugh Roberts #blog!

Hugh is covering while Terri Webster Schrandt is away, and chose the theme- ORANGE- for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. Check out Hugh’s photos here: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2020/09/06/what-do-you-think-of-when-you-hear-the-word-orange-sundaystills-photography

How about the brilliant orange duvet cover on our bed?

Orange parrot tulips

Orange shirt- grandson’s birthday

Orange maple leaves

Orange fall colors- painting from a favorite artist of mine, Leonid Afremov

Gingerbread display raising money for Habitat for Humanity

The cover of my second novel!

What does orange mean for you?

The Land of the Free- Fiction in a Flash Challenge #amwriting #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Fiction in a Flash Challenge #16

Suzanne Burke came up with this beautiful photo for this week’s prompt. Read the entries and join in here: https://sooozburkeauthor.wordpress.com/2020/09/04/fiction-in-a-flash-challenge-week-16-new-image-prompt-join-in-the-fun-pursoot-iartg-asmsg-writingcommunity/

The full moon rode a crest of diaphanous clouds in the midnight sky, turning the snow into a diamond-encrusted field stretching as far as Luna could see. A soft wind ruffled her fur and sighed through the pines, increasing her loneliness.

It had been two weeks since she’d plunged into the freezing cold river. By the time she managed to slow her headlong journey through the angry waves, she’d been miles from her family. Crawling up the bank, Luna took refuge under a fallen tree and shivered until sleep took her under.

Three frosty days later, hunger drove her from the makeshift shelter. Stiff and aching muscles protested, but she shook, sending ice projectiles flying in all directions, and hobbled into the forest. A wounded rabbit provided the nourishment she needed and strength coursed through her veins.

Now to find her way home.

Instinct sent her feet flying upriver, back toward the snow-capped peaks of the Mackenzie Mountains. Wawatay followed her nighttime journey, the spirits dancing their way into the next world, the blue and green streaks lighting her way.

A shot rang out, kicking up the powdery snow near Luna’s tail. She yelped, and dodged to the right. What was tha… Bang. The echo resounded off the trees, knocking snow from the branches. Her pulse leaping in fear, she took flight, running full out away from the horrible noise. She ran, and ran, until her breath sawed in and out of her mouth, and still she ran.

Dawn was breaking the night sky apart by the time Luna slowed to a stop, tail tucked between her legs. Hopeless, she lifted her head and howled at the gods for leaving her out here all alone. A moment later, an answering call traveled on the wind.

Could it be?

Afraid to hope, Luna watched and waited until a pack of wolves loped into view. The big male in the lead had a distinctive coat of black fur with a silver streak down the back- her father.

Luna took off at a mad dash, yipping with joy. Her family surrounded her, licking and nipping their love and affection. Somehow, some way, she’d defied the odds and found her way home here in the land of the free.

Two very Different #FamilySaga #BookReview @jamescudney4 @PintipDunn


Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

Two Fabulous Reads from James J. Cudney and Pintip Dunn

For the first time ever, I went past a writing deadline and had to ask for an extension from the members of the upcoming boxset, Cute But Crazy 2 : Ditzy Dudes. Talk about stressing out! On top of that, my eyes have been incredibly sore, and yes, before you ask; I’ve been using medicated eye drops and allergy tablets, but the long hours on the computer really did them in. I even turned the light down to low (can’t handle night mode on the big screen, though I love it on my phone). But, as of today, it’s done- so, yay!

These books were finished a while ago, but I couldn’t manage the time to get the reviews done, so I’m making it up now 🙂

First up:

Watching Glass Shatter

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?

My Review

A letter from the grave will rip everything a family believes apart

The Glass family are rich, well-liked, family-orientated. But all of that disintegrates under the burden of a secret so devastating it’s hard to comprehend.

A child lost.

A lie kept.

Will the family be able to overcome their patriarch’s betrayal, or will it destroy them all?

Told from the perspective of each of the Glass family members, the reader gets to experience their pain, anger, cyniscim, and doubt.

The author weaves lives together finesse, and an eye to detail that makes this story a joy to read. This isn’t my first James Cudney book, and it won’t be the last!


Dating Makes Perfect

The Tech sisters don’t date in high school. Not because they’re not asked. Not because they’re not interested. Not even because no one can pronounce their long, Thai last name—hence the shortened, awkward moniker. But simply because they’re not allowed.

Until now.

In a move that other Asian American girls know all too well, six months after the older Tech twins got to college, their parents asked, “Why aren’t you engaged yet?” The sisters retaliated by vowing that they won’t marry for ten (maybe even twenty!) years, not until they’ve had lots of the dating practice that they didn’t get in high school.

In a shocking war on the status quo, her parents now insist that their youngest daughter, Orrawin (aka “Winnie”), must practice fake dating in high school. Under their watchful eyes, of course—and organized based on their favorite rom-coms. ’Cause that won’t end in disaster.

The first candidate? The son of their longtime friends, Mat Songsomboon—arrogant, infuriating, and way too good-looking. Winnie’s known him since they were toddlers throwing sticky rice balls at each other. And her parents love him.

If only he weren’t her sworn enemy.

My Review

Dating her enemy shouldn’t be this much fun

Winnie loves her crazy Thai family, even if her parents have some archaic ideas. Her twin sisters weren’t allowed to date in high school, but now that they’re in college, the parents suddenly want to know when to expect grandbabies- oiy!

In retaliation, the girls say they’re having too much fun and don’t plan to marry for a loooong time. Driven to change their ideals, the parents decide Winnie should ‘practice’ date, but that’s not the worst part- they choose the one boy she swore to hate forever, Matt Songsomboon.

The one upmanship begins almost immediately. Mat is just as irritating as Winnie remembers, and disturbingly handsome. Hard to imagine they were once best of friends, and now, without her sisters’ sage advice, she’d give up and stay single for life.

If Winnie can just get through the next three months, Mat will get what he wants, and she… well, we’ll see.

This story is filled with humor, familial love, emotional moments, and cultural heritage. While this is a friends-to-lovers romance, it’s also the journey of a young woman as she learns a valuable life lesson and gains the respect of those who love her.

I especially enjoyed learning about a new culture in a fun and informative way- a great read!

Check out all of my book recommendations on BookBub 
good day!

Sunday Lines: Sunday, August 30


Step out of your comfort zone. You can’t soar among the eagles until you learn to fly.
Jacquie Biggar

Looking for more lines to inspire? Check out Word by Word​’s weekly post- Sunday Lines.

Word by Word

Here are a few encouraging #SundayLines provided by our #WordbyWord authors with the theme WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BE INSPIRED and ideas for finding solitude, a voice, new ideas, or maybe a purpose.

Interested in learning more? Click on the pictures below to gain more insight into each author.


Step out of your comfort zone. You can’t soar among the eagles until you learn to fly.

Jacquie Biggar


I love listening to the waves at the beach. It clears the mind and opens up the imagination.

Marion Lanouette


“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” ~ Betty Ford

Marsha West


“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Sharon Wray


Do what you can and one day when you least expect it you’ll find yourself doing something you never imagined possible.

Pat Amsden


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The Stories These Walls Could Tell- #FictionInAFlash #WritingCommunity @pursoot


Soooz Burke has found a wonderful photo for this week’s challenge! You can read more and join in below:

The wallpaper hangs in jagged strips from the walls, faded jacquard prints of a more dignified time. Cobwebs drap from the dilapidated ceiling, and I try not to imagine how big the spider is that created them.

Tom and I won this house at auction, before…

The floors creak beneath my sneakers and are gray with dust and grime, but they look original to my weary eyes. The drive took hours and all I can think about is a warm bath and soft bed- neither of which I’ll find here. I’ll go back to the small town I’d passed through soon, but first I need to finish what I started.

“We did it,” I tell my husband, sure he can hear me wherever he is.

The baby moves beneath my breasts and I gently rub the spot, my throat tight when I feel a tiny heel. Tom wanted this child so much. That and the home he’d grown up in. It’s bittersweet to know we’ve succeeded.

“It’s everything you said it was,” I say, continuing my one-sided conversation. “The fireplace is huge. No wonder you thought Santa got stuck up the chimney.” I trail a finger along the mantle. “Baby’s stocking will look lost on here.”

The tears that are never very far away wet my cheeks. It’s been five months, but I miss him still.

I always will.

With renewed determination, I climb the surprisingly sturdy staircase and enter the first room on the right- Tom’s childhood bedroom. A warm sensation flows over me and my tears dry as peace descends. He’s here, I can feel him.

The room is empty, other than an old blue chest shoved under the stained window. My heart flutters wildly and I’m suddenly scared of what I’ll find.

“Go,” a ghostly voice intones, his breath warm on my ear.

I startle and stumble forward. “Always so bossy,” I grouch with a smile.

The lid is heavy. I have to work to get it up, and then I sneeze as a musty fog rises from the interior. “Geez, Tom, you could have warned me.”

He chuckles from over my shoulder. I can almost feel his arms around me and baby.

His baseball hat from seventh grade sits on top the pile of memorabilia. My fingers tremble as they trace the Saints emblem. Who would have thought he’d go on to have a successful career in the NBL?

Alongside the hat, lay an autographed baseball bat, and below that, the reason I’m here. A leatherbound journal. My husband’s thoughts and dreams in his messy script fill the pages, front to back.

The house will be baby and my future, but this journal? It’s my link to the past and is truly priceless.

The baby rolls, creating a wave across my stomach and my dearly departed husband laughs.

His family is home.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews -#Poetry #Shortstories Colleen M. Chesebro, #Paranormal #Thriller Jacquie Biggar


A wonderful review for The Beast Within from Sally Cronin- thank you, Sally!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

The first featured book this week with my review from 2019 (and I thought I should get it posted whilst we still have some summmer) is by Colleen M. Chesebro, Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration.

About the collection.

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love…

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Memories in Lavender Fields


A beautiful post on the meaning of friendship by Sharon Wray​

Word by Word

I once had a best friend. The kind of friend who felt more like a sister, was one of the best critique partners I’ve ever had, and would do anything for you regardless of the time of day. Unfortunately, this friend, Karen, died a few years ago of brain cancer. And her loss is still a painful hole in my heart.

During this summer’s lockdown, I’ve felt her presence even more keenly. Karen was a summer girl–she loved the pool (which is closed), she was addicted to farmer’s markets (also closed), and loved going on summer adventures like driving hours into the Virginia mountains to find an elusive lavender field.

So one summer a few years ago, while she was taking a break from chemo, I packed her into the car and drove for hours until I found the lavender field. When we got out of the car, the first…

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